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Flaming Dragons Of Middle Earth - The Seed of Contempt (2010)

Myślicie, że już wszystko słyszeliście i nic Was nie zaskoczy? Błąd. Ja też do niedawna tak myślałem dopóki nie natrafiłem na muzykę Flaming Dragons Of The Middle Earth. Przeżyłem prawdziwy szok i ogarnęło mnie zdumienie. Muzyka budzi taką konsternację, że właściwie nie wiadomo czy można ją traktować poważnie. Czy jest to artystyczna prowokacja? Czy są to zwykłe pojeby, które usiłują wmówić słuchaczom, że grają muzykę (i potrafią grać na instrumentach)? A może to uciekinierzy z psychiatryka albo geniusze. Każdy sobie indywidualnie musi odpowiedzieć na te pytania. Ja nie potrafię dać jednoznacznej diagnozy "tego czegoś". Trudno poważnie traktować porównania do Captaina Beefhearta, The Fugs, The Godz etc... Jeśli "Trout Mask Replica" powstała na kwasie to nie wiem na czym powstaje muzyka FDOMA . Nawet nie jestem przekonany, że wokalista, autor tekstów i lider porusza się na wózku inwalidzkim - bo to też może w rzeczywistości okazać się kpiną albo jakimś odlotem. Trzeba przyznać natomiast jedno - muzycy są bardzo odważni, a obłąkany wokal wbija po prostu w fotel. Konia z rzędem temu kto tę płytę przesłucha od początku do końca. Mnie się jeszcze nie udało.

Yikes.  Basically, “The Seed of Contempt” is a collection of very short recordings that have been released successively on cassette over the past few years from the wheelchair-ridden Danny Cruz, fearless leader of this bizarre ensemble of non-musicians who trek bravely forth into some experiment he calls…music. It is music, of course, it just happens to be very bad music.  And it’s not bad simply because it’s weird.  We all know—Foxy followers especially should—that weird can be, and often is, a very, very good thing.  And no mistaking Cruz for a weirdo, that’s for sure.  And even the “amateur” thing is totally forgivable under the right circumstances.  It’s just that this is amateur and weird in a way that is kind of annoying, childish, immature, and ultimately just really unpleasant to listen to at home on your hi-fi stereo system.

Pseudo-sort-of covers and original songs are blurted awkwardly out by a vocalist who can’t seem to keep his mouth in front of the microphone, while others randomly contribute whatever they feel like from song to song.  Sometimes Cruz just goes off by himself in Bush-slandering rants and knock knock jokes.  Sometimes a dog finds its way into whatever make-shift studio this horrendous album was created in to offer his two cents.  Like I said, yikes.  Noise tracks find their way in to furiously interrupt things for a whopping fifteen seconds before Cruz comes back to remind everyone of that guy Sun Ra (…again and again).  Most songs don’t even play themselves out, either cut off by someone losing their “place,” or someone else just deciding they’re bored of whatever riff they’d been pummeling for the past eight bars.  Or, the song just stops dead, caused either by a snafu in the midst of recording or bad tape-dubbing.  It just seems like there were enough of the weirdos-back-when who were actually good at this kind of thing (The Fugs, Captain Beefheart…), leaving this Cruz fellow as something of a fanboy.  One who runs what does seems to be a pretty fun and interesting-looking weekly jam session in his home town of Turner Falls, Massachusettes—this record actually stands as a document of his work there.  The album notes invite you to join him for a jam session every Thursday night at 5:00 PM.  It actually sounds like a pretty good time…most of these recordings probably came from those very sessions, and if there’s one thing I can say in the positive about all of this, it’s that it sounds like whoever was a part of whatever song you hear on the album had a lot of fun making it.  And to Cruz and Co.’s credit, fun sure is fun.  If I lived there, I’d probably show my ugly face at the Brick House on Third St. on a fairly regular basis and go crazy with these kids (none of whom appear to play with a full deck, as my Dad would say).  So power to you, Mr. Cruz dude, keep doing what you’re doing, keep doing it with your friends, and keep worshiping your heroes.  Just please stop pressing the results on vinyl.  Get a Facebook page, let people know how you use nonsense and nothingness to create…nothing really, and let’s just call that a day.

As a side, I will say that the record cover and presentation of this LP is pretty awesome.  Epic, really.

(Crawford Philleo)

About our latest Weird Band of the Week, it has been said, “I have seen them clear rooms and I have seen them get a few folks dancing, but mostly I’ve seen them clear rooms.” And that was said by a fan. Meet Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth, a rag-tag band of free-form rockers from western Massachusetts led by a dude who’s either a talentless lunatic or the second coming of Captain Beefheart. There’s really no middle ground here. You’ll either love Danny Cruz or you’ll clear out of the room.

Cruz started FDOME in 2007 at the Brick House Community Center in Turners Falls, Mass., a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it suburb of the once prosperous mill town of Greenfield, which is a suburb of nowhere. The band still meets there every Thursday afternoon, and rehearsals are open to everyone: “You are a member,” declares the band’s Blogspot, “why don’t you come to practice?” This has led to a large, rotating lineup of—and I’m actually quoting from the band’s own site here—”non-musicians, psychedelic drop-outs, teenage metallers, kids with Down Syndrome etc.” In the eye of the storm sits Cruz, confined to a wheelchair but clearly not confined to the limits of reality, taste or music theory. Over the band’s unholy racket, he hollers out songs with titles like “Evil Knows Your Name” and “Devil Worship Bugaloo,” along with instructions to the band on how to play, which the band usually either ignores and seems to not quite understand. It’s Roky Erickson meets James Brown meets a music therapy session in a ’60s psych ward, led by one of the five people who bought Cromagnon‘s Orgasm.

Cruz calls the band’s sound “mudlightning metal,” which is as good a name as any for it. This article in local alt-newsweekly The Valley Advocate quotes him as describing it thusly: “All styles mixed with funerals and zombies and animals and being stupid and going to school and pretending you’re dropping out and all the cool stuff and peace and hippies and getting mental disorders and being a man who is in a nightmare, but he enjoys it.” Sign us up, dude!

Even if FDOME wasn’t from a town with a population of 4,000, their shows would probably be sparsely attended. As it is, the band usually outnumbers the audience, as you can see from the clip below. Which is too bad, because in New York or L.A., people would declare this stuff arty and progressive and write even longer blog posts than this one trying to explain the significance of it all. We’ll let you make up your own minds as to whether any of it is significant or not. All we know is, we’ve never heard anything quite like it.

Shout-out to longtime reader Sheavy for recommending this band, by the way. How many bands is that you’ve helped add to The Weird List, Sheavy? We should pay you a commission or something. What’s 15% of zero? (source)

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